Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp provided an overview of the recommendations President Trump and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.
Nursing homes, also known as skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, or long-term care facilities, have become an accelerator for COVID-19. This is because residents, who are generally comprised of a vulnerable population, are even more vulnerable to the complications of the virus in enclosed environments like nursing homes.
The recommendations are as follows:
- Nursing homes should immediately ensure that they are complying with all CMS and CDC guidance related to infection control.
- As nursing homes are a critical part of the healthcare system, and because of the ease of spread in long-term care facilities and the severity of illness that occurs in residents with COVID-19, CMS/CDC urge state and local leaders to consider the needs of long-term care facilities with respect to supplies of PPE and COVID-19 tests.
- The facilities should immediately implement symptom screening for all staff, residents, and visitors, including temperature checks.
- All staff must use appropriate PPE when they are interacting with patients and residents, to the extent PPE is available and per CDC guidance on conservation of PPE.
To avoid transmission, facilities should use separate staffing teams for residents to the best of their ability, and as President Trump announced at the White House on April 2, 2020, the administration urges nursing homes to work with state and local leaders to designate separate facilities or units within a facility to separate COVID-19 negative residents from COVID-19 positive residents and individuals with unknown COVID-19 status.
These recommendations will help long-term care facilities as they consider how to best prevent or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their facilities. For more information on CMS actions, please visit cms.gov.